The ‘Pineapple Express’ to Freedom

The 'Pineapple Express' to Freedom

( – As the crisis in Afghanistan continues to unfold, life for those remaining in Kabul becomes even more dangerous. The United States government wrapped up its attempts to remove people on August 31, stranding both American citizens and Afghan allies who remain locked within the Middle Eastern country. However, one small team continued to risk their lives throughout the chaotic withdrawal to expand the rescue effort.

Doing What’s Right

U.S. military veterans with intense experience and training took up the task of rescuing people from Afghanistan in what they call “Operation Pineapple Express.” The secret volunteer-led campaign, staffed by US Green Berets and US Navy SEAL commanders, sought to save the lives of people in the Middle Eastern state who would die without immediate intervention.

Jason Redman, a former SEAL, feels the American government stood by and did nothing. He cites the group’s frustration over the issue as a key factor in their decision to act. Yet, Redman is also clear that his team was simply doing their duty as citizens of the U.S.

Why Pineapple Express?

The name of the covert operation likely stems from the use of the tropical fruit’s photos on phones to depict they were on our side. In addition, “Pineapple” was the password the group used. Active U.S. military members working with the special operations team have since changed the keyword for security reasons.

Former Green Beret Captain Zac Lois dubbed the feat astounding, especially considering the team assembled in haste only days before the mission began. None of the soldiers involved had ever even met. Yet, they managed to rescue 630 people, including an Afghan ally and his family of six.

No Man Left Behind

Former counterinsurgency adviser and retired Navy SEAL commander Dan O’Shea says leaving men behind isn’t part of military culture. He also thinks some Afghans show a stronger sense of democratic values than most Americans.

Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Mick Mulroy confirmed the group felt compelled to rescue Afghan allies who demonstrated unwavering support for the U.S. He says their contributions to various war efforts played a critical role in saving both troops and civilians. That’s why he believes we owe it all to rescue them rather than leaving them behind.

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